“The current process for grant applications, especially in science and technology, is a series of steps and through a line of hierarchy. As Manapat explains, the process may take months or years to get the funding required for development.”

Saliksik beta launched its platform last Friday, May 22, in a move to improve research and development funding in the Philippines. The site is the first crowdfunding platform devoted exclusively to Filipino researchers of any field of study.

Researchers may already sign-up to apply for their projects’ exposure on their website to acquire supplemental funding from backers. It is also possible to pledge on the existing project shown.

Projects will be screened by the research and development team of Saliksik. The first five researchers to sign up for their platform will be granted a free promo without additional fees.

The beta will end on June 12, 2020 for assessment and later improvements by             their team.

Crowdfunding platform for PH researchers launches beta website

Jumpstarting Research

Jill Manapat, a materials engineer and faculty member of the University of the Philippines – Diliman (UPD), is one of the founding members of the platform along with six others belonging to different backgrounds and expertise.

“There’s a lot of people doing crowdsourcing, it’s not new. But there hasn’t been a platform specific for research projects and the academe,” Manapat explained in a Google Hangouts interview with OffCrowd.

As a researcher herself, she saw the problem in requesting for immediate grants for their own projects. Manapat initially started as one of the members in the development of an alternative to N95 masks, as shown on the website.

“Of course, during COVID, we wanted it to be released right away,” she said. “We submitted an application to the government, but the process was too long.”

This became a motivation for Manapat and her team to join Startup Weekend PH last April. They won first place in the 54-hour hackathon that seeks to build relevant startups in the Philippines.

“Until now, we haven’t received the funding for the government. So I thought, while waiting for funding, what if there was a way to jumpstart the project while waiting for the funding,” she added.

The current process for grant applications, especially in science and technology, is a series of steps and through a line of hierarchy. As Manapat explains, the process may take months or years to get the funding required for development.

Saliksik also aims to provide more research opportunities to varied individuals. According to Manapat, big grants are often provided to researchers with PhDs. This platform can be a way to explore the research first, before trying to apply for a big grant.

Crowdfunding platform for PH researchers launches beta website

More R&D in the Philippines during and after COVID

In Saliksik, the amount requested through crowdsourcing will simply be supplemental funding to get ahead on the project while waiting for funding from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) or other government and institutions. 

They hope that this can improve the speed in R&Ds in the Philippines, as Manapat marks that our country has been slow compared to most countries.

Adapting through a pandemic has shown the need for more support in our country’s scientists and researchers from varying fields of the academe.

Just recently, even the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST), in a statement has called for research-led projects to approach the spread of the virus. In the same statement, they’ve expressed support for DOST, who has been instrumental in providing funding for multiple researches.

But as Manapat mentioned, there needs to be more support for research in the Philippines to quicken the response and solutions. With a country full of both talent and intelligence, it can be possible to start innovation here.

Government participation and global action from the community by supporting future research enabled by Saliksik is a possible step.

OffCrowd is a platform to report working solutions as well as discuss concepts and ideas to nourish solutions among all individuals.

Let us know the groups or individuals already working towards these, let us know existing policies if we’ve missed any, and discuss in the comments.

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